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of sequels, it has also been a summer of Sunday newspaper think pieces on sequels. Most of the critics who have written on the sequel phenomenon have come to the same conclusion: that the proliferation of roman numerals means that Hollywood is in a deep crisis of creativity— that no one in Hollywood seems capable of an original thought. That may be true, but the audience must also accept some of the blame. In spite of its shuddering lack of originality, the summer of 1983 will set a new record for box- office receipts. Clearly, somebody out there likes

attention has hitherto been paid to establishing the full range of what he contributed to the nascent industry, and art, of cinema. Yet the deeper problem with Paul is deciding just what he represents: an in- ventor, entrepreneur, pioneer filmmaker, producer, studio head—or an engineer temporarily beguiled by this new apparatus, an opportunist who claimed credit for others’ inventions, a businessman who dabbled briefly in film? During its relatively short academic career, film studies has been preoccupied with identifying creativity in an otherwise industrial pro

contained in the contrasts of the score—the movement between Russia and America, between politi- cal ideals and personal feelings, between group solidarity and action and individual isolation and petulance (I don’t want to . . . ). Reds radiates intelligence, sincerity, and creativity; it’s the most complete, most mature epic I know.

Enrique (Emilio Gutiérrez Caba) is upper- class and modern; while around the same time in Bob Rafel- son’s Five Easy Pieces (1970), when Rayette (Karen Black) uses a Polaroid Automatic it is just more evidence of her vulgarity and lower social class, placing her in stark contrast to the piano- playing Robert (Jack Nicholson).63 Francine Fishpaw, meanwhile, seems to be wielding a top- of- the- range SX- 70 Sonar, just the sort of prestige camera you would expect to find in the rich suburbs of Baltimore. “Creativity” and Cultural Value: Polaroid Kitsch Polaroid

apotheosis in 1960, when Boetticher left Hollywood at the height of his creativity to make a documentary on the Mexican bullfighter Carlos Arruza. Through a series of absurd complications, an eight- month shooting schedule turned into an eight- year nightmare. Boetticher stayed with the project, displaying a stubbornness that surpassed that of even his most obdurate screen heroes, but by the time he returned, Hollywood had forgotten him. A Time for Dying, a low- budget Western made for his friend Audie Murphy, followed Arruza in 1969; Boetticher has not made a

have included artists as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Johann Sebastian Bach, Heinrich Böll and Pierre Corneille. As a Marxist, Straub is determined to undercut the traditional ideals of authorship and indi- vidual genius. There’s no creativity in a vacuum for Straub and his fellow materialist filmmakers: art is produced by the interaction of historical and personal forces, and Straub emphasizes the point by selecting sources or subjects that seem purposefully irrelevant to his political concerns. Out of the collision of Straub and Bach, of Straub and

studios was unrewarding as art. What wasn’t lowbrow belonged firmly to the middle (Wilson, The White Cliffs of Dover, Mrs. Miniver, The Best Years of Our Lives). After the war, André Bazin and other French critics would start to forge an aesthetic of the Hollywood sound cinema, but American writ- ers did not think so abstractly. Ferguson, Agee, Farber, and Tyler worked a n e w e r C r i T i C i s m 27 more pragmatically to search out creativity in their time. All shared a trust in the standard story of the evolution of film art, from Griffith through the

Forum 17, no. 4:403–16. White, Harrison. 1993. Careers and Creativity: Social Forces in the Arts. Boulder, Colo.: Westview. Willis, Paul. 1994. “Women in Sport in Ideology.” In Women, Sport, and Culture, ed. Susan Birrell and Cheryl Cole, 31– 46. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics. Wolf, Diane. 1996. “Situating Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork.” In Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork, ed. Diane Wolf, 1–55. Boulder, Colo.: Westview. Wolf, Margery. 1992. A Thrice-Told Tale: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Ethnographic Responsibility. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press

understood that you could, if you favored criteria like liveliness, poignancy, force, and arresting detail. Most intellectuals couldn’t recog- nize art in mass- market movies because Hollywood had redefined what artistry was. At moments Hollywood had taken creativity beyond art, into a realm that Tyler called hallucination. The beauty these four disclosed was often merely glimpsed. Fergu- son cared more than the others about a movie’s unity, but all of them realized that in the popular media, parts sometimes outranked wholes. Most movies lacked the formal rigor of


continuing contribution to the building of socialism. They also tantalizingly suggest that these films challenge main- stream “Western” perspectives on these topics. Nonetheless, throughout this period, the unmade film “The Unholy Force” remained his major pre- occupation, and, with his continued work on the script, this literary work was a major outlet for his creativity. Medvedkin’s literary talent was indeed considerable. In it he was much influenced by the Russian satirical writer Saltykov- Shchedrin. His ear was attuned to the pithy, graphic sayings of the people